Paris & Rue de Bac

Rue de Bac

Situated on a quiet side-street in central Paris, close to the world famous landmarks, is one of France’s most famous and honoured church’s; the Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

Located in the middle of the City, thousands of pilgrims from across the world come on pilgrimage to this humble place, home of the revered medallion. Here one finds silence and recollection, fervour, trust and gratitude.

The story of the Miraculous Medal began through a number of Apparitions to a young French nun named Catherine Labouré. Aged 24, Catherine entered the Seminary at the Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity on Rue du Bac. It was here in the Chapel that the Blessed Virgin appeared to her several months later, the first time on 19 July 1830, to tell her about a mission confided to her, the second time the following November 27, to show her the medal that Sister Catherine was asked to have made.

The following year, having completed her Seminary, Sister Catherine was sent to Reuilly, at that time a very poor neighbourhood in the south-east of Paris. She would serve the elderly there until the end of her life, keeping her secret to herself, while devotion to the medal spread throughout the world. Catherine Labouré died in peace on New Year’s Eve 1876.

In 1933, at the time of her beatification, the vault where she was buried at the chapel in Reuilly was opened. The body of Catherine was found to be incorrupt and was transferred to the Chapel at Rue du Bac and placed under the altar of Our Lady of the Globe, where today, pilgrim can view St Catherine’s mortal remains.

What will I see when I visit:

  • The relics of Saint Louise de Marillac (12 August 1591 – 15 March 1660) who alongside St. Vincent de Paul, co-founded the Daughters of Charity.
  • The statue of the Virgin clothed in the Sun, as struck on Miraculous Medals. An exact representation of the apparitions witnessed in this church by Catherine.
  • The body of Saint Catherine Labouré; transferred to Rue de Bac in 1933 for her beatification, Catherine’s mortal remains can be venerated in a glass shrine under alter of the Virgin of the Globe.
  • The incorrupt Heart of Saint Vincent de Paul. This relic contained in a gold-plated metal vessel was kept in Turin, Italy during the French Revolution and then brought back to the Lyon Cathedral in 1805. It returned to Rue de Bac in 1947.
  • The Blessed Virgin’s Chair. On the night of the 18 July 1830 during one of the apparitions, the Blessed Virgin took time to sit down and talk with Catherine. The chair from this apparition can be seen today in the tribune.
  • In a neighbouring church less than 100 meters from Rue de Bac in the chapel of the headquarters of the Vincentian fathers in Paris, is the ornate glass reliquary, is the body of Saint Vincent de Paul. St. Vincent’s body was exhumed in 1712, 53 years after his death and his bones were encased in a waxen effigy.

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All groups that visit Rue de Bac will have an opportunity to attend Mass in either the Church of the Miraculous Medal or the Church of St Vincent de Paul.

Depending on the length of our stay in Paris, groups will have an opportunity to explore the City centre on foot by visiting either Notre Dame Cathedral or the Sacré-Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart).